Posts Tagged ‘quick’

Spicy Beef

  • Marinate beef slices in soy sauce
  • spring onions
  • 2 grated carrots
  • soy sauce and orange ginger marmalade
  • (optional) orange segments

Mixed Vegetables

  • cauliflower florets
  • broccoli florets
  • red bell pepper (or green)
  • celery
  • soy sauce to taste

Make rice.

Steam and fry the vegetables in the wok first.  Remove and keep warm.

Then heat the oil and flavorings for the beef: ginger, garlic, orange rinds, and chili pods.  Stir-fry the meat, add the onion and carrot for the last minute.

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Left over breads make wonderful panini sandwiches.  You can put just about anything in a panini, add some cheese to glue everything together.

This quick late night snack was made with turkey, extra sharp cheddar cheese, and thin slices of dense pumpernickel bread.  I bought the loaf last week and threw half in the freezer to carry through to this week.  Buying a whole loaf rather than sliced can help extend the life of your bread.  I would rather have fresh bread everyday, like after school at grandma Rita’s house, I just don’t have the time (or energy) to keep up.

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Eggplants have to be my new favorite “different” veggie.  Just recently, I’ve discovered how to properly prepare eggplants so that they are not bitter, but soft and buttery instead.  If all you can find are the teardrop shaped deep purple specimens, they can go from bitter to gussied up for the pan in no time.  The trick is to salt out the bitterness. 

Cut your eggplant in half, lengthwise, sprinkle on salt to cover the flesh which is now exposed.  Place the two halves, cut side down, on a cookie rack (you can also balance them on two short glasses or cans if you don’t have a baking rack).  The idea is to let the eggplant release water.  The water carries the bitterness with it.  Leave the eggplant to sweat while you make a cup of joe or tea.

Water should have accumulated underneath the eggplant by now (give them about 15 minutes).  Wash off the surfaces with just a tiny bit of running water, then pat dry.  There, eggplant ready to dice!  You can apply the exact same method to zucchini squash.

  • olive oil
  • 1 purple eggplant, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, thick slices
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3-4 roma tomatoes, diced roughly
  • sea salt
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 lemon

Here is how I made this dish… Sauté diced eggplant in olive oil.  Add sea salt as you turn the cubes over.  Just as the eggplant starts to soften and has a bit of golden color to it, remove it from the pan and set aside on a plate.  Sauté the onion, garlic, zucchini, and red bell pepper until the onion and garlic are golden.  Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper.  When the tomato skins start separating from the flesh, add the eggplant to the pan again.  Adjust the seasoning if required.  Juice the lemon over everything, then turn off the heat – it’s ready!

Serve the veggies with some rice or what ever else is on the menu, today it was baked samosas.  This is a great way to get some veggies, including eggplant, to the family dinner table.

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This was one of those days when I could not decide what to make for dinner and hubby had browned a pound of ground turkey by the time I arrived at home with the kids.  

Turkey and Veggie Pasta & Pizza


A little poking around the kitchen provided two ideas, pizza and pasta.  There was an abundance of broccoli heads since both my husband and I bought some on the way home the day before.  He buys it because he likes it,and  I buy it because he likes it.  Some of the broccoli needs to work with the turkey, they will be great with some pasta.  

My son wanted to help make dinner, he loves pizza, so I thought he could help with parts of the meal.  I sliced up a zucchini and he dropped them in to a pan to brown.  He took out two flour tortillas and added the shredded cheese once I covered them with tomato paste.  We walked outside to the garden.  We picked some basil leaves for both the pasta and the pizza.   

The mini pizzas were loaded up with shredded mozzarella cheese, half of the ground turkey (browned), oregano, fresh basil, red onion, and the browned zucchini cut into a small dice.  I baked them at 400F just until the edges of the tortilla were crisp and the cheese had melted.   

Penne pasta was cooked and a head of broccoli was cut up and added for the last couple of minutes of the pasta’s cooking time.  Drain the whole pot then add the pasta and broccoli back in along with your choice of sauce and julienne the fresh basil.  Then add the remaining turkey, zucchini and parmesan cheese.  Warm through and serve 🙂

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Last night I noticed my jar of herbes de provence in the spice rack.  I bought these herbs solely to make cassoulet after receiving “Julie & Julia” and Mastering the Art of French Cooking by the lovely Julia Child as a gift from my mother-in-law.  I read the cookbook as if it was the most riveting spy novel ever written.  I fell even more in love with food with every chapter. 

cassoulet lite

The original recipe involves many steps, loads of preparation, and something I have very little of: time.  I would literally have to hire a babysitter and work in the kitchen all day to follow everything Julia et ses compagnes say in the book.  It’s a task reserved for a holiday dinner, where babysitters are abound and generally will take the baby before I have to ask someone for help.  (Thanks grandma and grandpa!)

I’ve played with a few of the key ingredients to concoct a simple lighter version of cassoulet.  Herbes de provence of course play the herb role here.

  • 3 slices bacon
  • half of a large white onion, diced
  • one clove garlic, minced
  • one carrot, diced
  • one 15 oz can northern beans, drained
  • half of a red bell pepper
  • two Roma tomatoes, diced
  • tablespoon herbes de provence
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • roasted chicken, divide into portions, remove fat and skin

Cut the bacon into 1/4 inch pieces and spread out in a cold pan.  Turn on the heat to a medium-low, just to get the fat to render out of the bacon.  Remove any bits of bacon which start to get crispy.  Add the onion and sauté for two minutes.  Add the garlic and carrot, sprinkle the herbs, salt and pepper and stir.  When the garlic is soft, about one minute, add the tomatoes and beans.  Stir to begin deglazing the pan with the juice of the tomatoes, turn up the heat to medium-high and pour in the stock scraping any brown bits off the bottom of the pan.  Add the chicken, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.

I cut the veggies in a small dice so that they melt away when simmered.  The beans are left intact, and the chicken pieces should be heated through.

My son loves beans, all I have to say is come have some “beans” and he gobbles up his bowl of cassoulet and asks for seconds.  This is why I love food and sharing with my family!

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It’s 6:32pm. 

Baby is tired and crying after a bottle.  Husband is looking in the kitchen for a morsel to eat.  Boy is running around chasing the dog.  What’s for dinner?

This is a daily question.  You know it’s coming, and even about what time.  Yet I, like so many other moms I’m sure,  can’t fathom what to bring to the table as the minutes tick away on the wall clock in the kitchen.  Food is what I enjoy in life, why does it cause me such turmoil on a weekly basis? 

Pick up the baby.  Let the dog outside.  Get a glass of milk for the boy.  A moment to think, please!

It’s the end of the month so there’s not much in the fresh persuasion left in the fridge.  I look in the freezer.  Bingo! Perogies!!!  Luckily, there’s an onion and some butter in the fridge, exactly what you would use to brighten up lazy frozen perogies.  Any sausage or ham would have done wonderfully IF I HAD THEM.  I boil some water and drop in my hand-made potato-cheddar-bacon perogies (I will post the recipe later).  Meanwhile I throw butter and onion slices in a pan.  Drain those perogies and plop them on top of the onions.  I crank up the heat because everyone is waiting for dinner

Distraction.  Baby wants to go lay down.  Dog wants back inside.  Boy is pulling shirt and out of milk.  “What are you making dear?” 

The smell of something burning grabs my attention.  My onions!  I put down the baby and tell my boy to stand back as I race to the stove to find something rather disheartening.  This..

…had turned to this…    

Onions are scorched.  Perogies are dry.  Dinner in a hurry is a hard thing to ask for, especially during the week.  I should have kept the heat down or not turned around.  You’d think I would have learned this by now, the hare never wins the race.  I pick off the onions and add a little butter to the pan to try to salvage this disaster of an attempt to “quickly” prepare dinner.  Top them off with plain yogurt and dig in.  At least I didn’t have to start over with something else.

Next time I will be more like a tortoise.

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With the Texas heat here to stay, I try to keep the kitchen cool.  It’s hard to resist my brand new oven, it’s so shiny.  It calls out “please cook some more!” 

Sorry oven, I know cookies would be awesome right now, but no I can’t.  

Instead, we’ll have to make something out of the left over rotiserie chicken and the eggplant that is softening in the fridge.  A wrap sounds good!  Here’s what I grabbed out of the ol’ ice box: 

  • the eggplant, it’s a small Rosa Bianca, diced         

    Left Over Chicken Transformed

  • half a yellow bell pepper, diced
  • small Serrano pepper, sliced
  • 1/4 onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • juice of 1 key lime
  • handful cherry tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  • salt and pepper

This is simple, just sauté the eggplant in plenty of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.  

Add the garlic for the last minute.  When it’s soft and slightly golden brown, remove from the pan and throw in the remaining ingredients.  

Sauté to your desired tenderness, add the eggplant back in to incorporate and heat through.  Pour the lime juice over and adjust the salt to taste. 

I put the warm veggies and chicken into a tortilla with some romaine lettuce.  You could eat it on its own or even as a side dish with something else.  


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Fish Tacos

I’ve only recently jumped on the fish taco band wagon. When I first moved down south, and Lent came around, I was bombarded with fish tacos every where. “Yuck! Who in their right mind would eat that?” Well, I’ve matured since then and so have my taste buds. Also thanks to the Spanish influence of my hubby, I found a way to embrace this odd dish.

Basa fillets on a bed of red onion and yellow bell peppers

I start with fillets of striped pangasius, which were pretty cheap (2.49 per lb). Sprinkle the fish with garlic powder, paprika, sea salt, pepper.

Heat a large skillet, big enough for your fish with space to party in the pan. Heat some oil until nearly smoking, then gently add the fillets. Cook on each side until crisp and golden. Remove the fish and add slices of red onion and yellow bell pepper. If the pan is a little dry, you can add a little more oil. Sea salt over the hot fish fresh out of the pan gives it the best enhancement of flavour. You can spritz some lime juice over top as well.

Serve with warm tortillas, chopped cilantro, tomato slices and avocado. Enjoy 🙂

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